There was plenty of drama… a lucky goal, a goal being disallowed and a controversial red card. And in the end, Kerala Blasters and FC Goa finished with a 1-1 draw in the Hero Indian Super League at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim, on Saturday night.
Jorge Mendoza gave third-placed Goa the lead in the 25th minute while K.P. Rahul headed in the Blasters equaliser in the 57th with both goals coming off set-pieces. After the scrappy match, the 13th for both teams, Goa stayed in third spot with 20 points while Blasters climbed two rungs, to seventh, with 14 points.
Goa had won the previous meeting between the two 3-1 last month.
and it was in control in the first half and in fine fashion too with short passes, fine one-twos and creating plenty of chances. Jorge Mendoza was unlucky to hit the woodwork in the sixth minute but he enjoyed a large slice of luck when he gave Goa the lead in the 25th minute. The Spaniard’s freekick from the left deflected off Sahal Abdul Samad’s head and entered the goal. Goalkeeper Albino Gomes jumped and tried his best but it was just out of his reach.
Fifteen minutes later, the Blasters’ Bakary Kone appeared to have scored the equaliser but the goal was disallowed as the assistant referee had spotted a handball.
Near the hour mark, the young forward Rahul, who had scored the match-winner in stoppage time in the previous game against Bengaluru, struck the equaliser off a perfect Facundo Pereyra corner kick. He soared over the rest of the crowd and his header bounced and went into the goal.
Goa was down to 10 men in the 65th minute after defender Ivan Gonzalez was given the marching orders after receiving two yellow cards.
The first card, which Gonzalez received for kicking Gary Hooper, appeared a bit harsh and he got the next one for putting his hand on the referee, something which players are not allowed to do.
With the man advantage for the next 25 minutes, the Blasters pressed hard for an equaliser but they could not manage it and ended up sharing points.
The result: Kerala Blasters 1 (K.P. Rahul 57) drew with FC Goa 1 (Jorge Ortiz Mendoza 25).
Sunday’s matches: Jamshedpur vs Hyderabad, 5.00 p.m.; Bengaluru vs Odisha 7.30 p.m.